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Society Saturday: NYG&B and John and Phebe Sales

Johannes Vingboons - Image of Vinckeboons map at Library of Congress ([1]). Joan Vinckeboons (Johannes Vingboon), "Manatvs gelegen op de Noot [sic] Riuier", 1639, via Wikipedia, Public Domain.
Johannes Vingboons – “Manhattan located on the North River.” Image of Vinckeboons map at Library of Congress ([1]). Joan Vinckeboons (Johannes Vingboon), “Manatvs gelegen op de Noot [sic] Riuier”, 1639, via Wikipedia, Public Domain.
McMurray Family, Helbling and Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

“Hopefully, John Sales, a “Black Sheep” in 1633 in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and his daughter Phebe, had a better life in New Netherland.”

Those were what I thought were words to finish up the saga of John and Phebe. However, the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B) has some articles in their NYG&B Record that mention John and Phebe, and I was finally able to gain online access to that article. So here are a few more tidbits about the family- some that answer questions in our previous posts, and some that flesh out the story a bit more.

Back in England, the parish registers of Little Waldingfield, Suffolk, England, included an entry for a marriage on 11 August 1625 of John Sales and Philip Soales.” Philip was a name used by women named “Philippa,” which is the feminine of Philip in Latin, the language used in the churches in those days.

John may have been older at his marriage than expected, (possibly not born ~1600) since his property was called “Old Jan’s Land” after his death in 1645- even in that time, 45 was not “old.”.

Those parish registers also included baptisms for “Phoebe Sales, daughter of John” on 1 May 1626, and for another daughter of John, “Sarah Seales,” who was christened 27 July 1628. No other mention of this family is made in these registers.

John Sales, his wife, and daughter Phebe did sail with the Winthrop Fleet in 1630, as surmised in our first post. The wife is not named, nor was she listed as a member of the First Church of Boston when John was noted as #21. Wives were listed for some members, however, so this may indicate that she died on the voyage or shortly after landing in the colony. Little Sarah may have died while they were waiting to sail and not in their own parish, or even once on board, since she only has the one entry in the parish register.

In 1664, colonist John Greene made a transcript of the Charlestown, Massachusetts town records. He noted that John Sales stayed and became an inhabitant of Charlestown in1629- though it was actually 1630- his was listed as #13 out of the 17 names recorded. The transcript goes on to explain how the colonists were in such dire straits:

“The summer this year [1632] prooving short, and wett, or [our] Crops of Indian Corne (for all this while wee had noe other) was very small and great want threatened us…”

The transcript goes on to describe the crimes of John Sales, and that he was openly punished, all his goods were to be sold to pay restitution, and he would be bound to Mr. Coxeshall until the year 1636.

Phoebe was to be bound out until 1647, and, if the above baptism is indeed the same Phebe, she would have been 21 when she gained her freedom, along with a “cowe cafe” from Mr. Coxeshall. Becoming an apprentice was a way to protect Phebe while her father was bound out, and it would teach her a trade so that she would not follow in the criminal footsteps of her father. This action does lend credence to the idea that she had no mother living, nor siblings.

John Winthrop, the Governor of the Colony, gave some details in his writings concerning John running away to the Indians. Winthrop states that Sales ran away to “… a place twelve miles off, where were seven Indians, whereof four died of the pox while he was there.” John must have been immune to smallpox since he survived, but the Indians did not have immune systems strong enough to fight the new disease brought by colonists to their lands.

John and Phebe Sales were not the only Massachusetts Bay Colonists who wished to remove themselves from the strict communities of the Puritans. Others also left for New Netherland, and John is first found in those records in 1638. As “Jan Celes” he was given a lease or permission to live at a plantation north of a place later called Rutgers Swamp. This area became known as “Old Jan’s Land” and his son-in-law took possession of some of the land, in the midst of Manhattan, after John’s death.

Phoebe is listed with a variety of first names and a variety of spellings of her last name in the Dutch records, but she was married 11 February 1640 to Theunis Nyssen. Thus she would have been only about 14, which was legal in New Netherland at that time. She had at least seven children, and they lived in Gowanus, Flatbush, and Brooklyn. There are no known daughters named Philippa, which would have been the Dutch custom, to name a daughter after the wife’s mother. If Phebe’s mother had died when she was very young, as was earlier hypothesized, she might choose to forego the custom. She did have a daughter named Mary, however- possibly after her step-mother, Mary Roberts?

Of course, we wondered what life was like for John and Phebe in the Dutch Colony, and this excellent article in the NYG&BR gives us more information concerning their daily life. (Our Helbling-Springsteen ancestors lived in Dutch New York possibly in this time period, too, so this information can give us some context to their lives.)

Apparently, Jan Celes made a number of court appearances due to various conflicts with neighbors. The first of those was when Jan was called in for “damage which the defendant’s hogs have caused the plaintiff.” He also still had some legal dealings in Massachusetts, as on 28 December 1639 he gave a power of attorney to a man from New Plymouth, and it was noted that John was living on Manhattan at that time.

“The fiscal vs. old Jan Selis” was a court case recorded on 26 November 1643. Neighbors testified that “old Jan drove many cows and horses into the swamp” and that he had “cut the cow of little Manuel with a chopping knife.” He was required to pay a fine, pay damages to his victims, and court costs for “having chased and wounded cattle.” Jan was also told that if committed such a crime again, he would be banished.

What may often be dismissed as dry genealogy in society journals can really help us learn more about our family. These articles can add much context, as in the case of John and Phebe Sales and the New York Genealogical & Biographical Record (NYG&BR). These articles also give us an idea of how the investigation progressed to learn the facts of a life, something we all might be able to use when researching other ancestors. Some say that societies are dead in this age of the internet, but societies provide valuable information for all who pursue the stories of their family- or even, those crazy people who become entranced by the stories of other families.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. “The True Identity of John Sales Alias Jan Celes of Manhattan” by Gwenn F. Epperson, New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 123, No. 2, Pages 65-73, April 1992.
  2. Additions and Corrections to “The True Identity of John Sales Alias Jan Celes of Manhattan,” New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 124, No. 4, Pages 226-7, October 1993.
  3. “Jan Cornelius Buys (Alias Jan Damen) and Teunis Nyssen (or Denyse) and Roelof Willemszen,” by John Reynolds Totten, New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 66, No. 3, Page 284, July 1935.

 

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Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Tombstone Tuesday: Harvey Deming & John Deming

Harvey Deming headstone, Salisbury Village Cemetery, Salisbury, Addison Co., Vermont. Used with kind permission of the FAG photographer, Alan Lathrop.
Harvey Deming headstone, Salisbury Village Cemetery, Salisbury, Addison Co., Vermont. Used with kind permission of the FAG photographer, Alan Lathrop. (Click to enlarge.)

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

Family historians are often stricken with BSO- Bright Shiny Object syndrome. Basically, that means we are working on one thing, find an interesting tidbit that makes us do a few extra online clicks, then a few more just to check one fact, then another, and then it is 3am…

That happened when writing the post for Monday, 25 July, about the birthdate of Edward Byron Payne (affectionately known as EBP in our household). Somehow- I actually know how, but won’t bore you, dear reader, with the details- I ended up on Find A Grave (FAG), looking at the memorial for Harvey Deming. Gazing at the headstone photo for Edward B. Payne’s maternal grandfather, the date of death jumped out– 26 July 1847. That was the day after Edward, called Biron in his first census (1850), was born! (And today is the 169th anniversary of his death.) So poor dear Nancy S. (Deming) Payne, age 34, was ‘lying in’ (giving birth) as her father was dying. Truly the circle of life… and sad that Nancy would not have her father for more years to watch his grandchildren grow, and EBP would never know his maternal grandfather.

So many take for granted the wonderful folks who take photos and create memorials for our ancestors on FAG. Today was a good reminder about how useful they can be in helping us to tell our stories. Noticing that the day after EBP was born, his grandfather died, makes our family history a story, rather than dry dates and ‘begats.’

But now, look closely at the additional photo that FAG Volunteer Alan Lathrop also posted on Harvey’s FAG memorial:

Harvey Deming & John Deming headstones, Salisbury Village Cemetery, Salisbury, Addison Co., Vermont. Used with kind permission of the FAG photographer, Alan Lathrop.
Harvey Deming & John Deming headstones, Salisbury Village Cemetery, Salisbury, Addison Co., Vermont. Used with kind permission of the FAG photographer, Alan Lathrop. (Click to enlarge.)

A close look shows that the headstone on the left is for John Deming, the father of Harvey, and grandfather of Nancy S. (Deming) Payne, EBP’s mother.

Nothing terribly special about that, as family members are often buried close to each other. But look closer at another of Alan’s photos:

John Deming headstone, Salisbury Village Cemetery, Salisbury, Addison Co., Vermont. Used with kind permission of the FAG photographer, Alan Lathrop.
John Deming headstone, Salisbury Village Cemetery, Salisbury, Addison Co., Vermont. Used with kind permission of the FAG photographer, Alan Lathrop.

And note the date of death for John Deming: 26 July 1815.

He died on the same day as his son, but 32 years earlier! Nancy was only about 2 years old, so she likely did not remember her paternal grandfather.

John had died in Crown Point, New York per FAG (but cannot find the source of that information), and Harvey in Middlebury, Vermont, about 45 miles from where his daughter Nancy had given birth to Biron (EBP), in Middletown, Vermont. John and Harvey were both buried in Salisbury, Vermont, about 10 miles from where the Payne family was living in 1846-7.

One more BSO-type Heritage Rambling… Family researchers believe that Janna Deming was the father of John Deming. But get this- he died on 24 July 1796- the day before EBP’s birthday (and 51 years earlier). This cluster of late July deaths in the Deming family is very interesting. Definitely a BSO.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Vermont Vital Records for 1720-1908 on Ancestry.com indicate the death of Harvey Deming as 6 July 1847 on one card, and 26 July 1847 on another. John’s card has the 26 July 1815 date; these cards were completed in 1919.
  2. The place of death of John Deming needs to be verified. Crown Point, NY is about 30 miles from Salisbury, VT, so it would be possible for them to move the body that far, though it would have been challenging in July of 1815.
  3. Find A Grave memorials– http://www.findagrave.com
    John Deming: Find A Grave Memorial# 103144340
    Harvey Deming: Find A Grave Memorial# 103143906

 

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Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Mystery Monday: The Birth of Edward B. Payne

Edward B. Payne, circa 1874. Image courtesy of Second Congregational Church, Wakeman, Ohio.
Edward B. Payne, circa 1874. Image courtesy of Second Congregational Church, Wakeman, Ohio. This is the youngest image we have of Edward- he would have been about 27 years old. (We apologize for the reflection from the glass.)

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

One hundred sixty-nine years ago, on 25 July 1847, a son was the third (known) child born to Nancy S. Deming (1813-1893) and Joseph Hitchcock Payne (1810-1884). They named him Edward Biron/Byron Payne.

We do not know of any ancestors named “Edward” that he might have been named after, but we have not yet extended those lines as far back as we would like to have completed. His middle name, however, was likely after Nancy’s brother Byron Deming (1826-1920). Perhaps his middle name was also in homage to the poet Lord Byron, who many know today for his short poem, “She Walks in Beauty.” Byron wrote much more than just that one lyric, though, and was quite famous in his own time as one of the Romantic era poets. “J. H.,” as Edward’s father was known, was an educated man. He had read the classics as he completed his education, which included seminary training; he would have read Byron and many other poets and writers. Nancy’s father (Harvey Deming, 1785-1847) had been Town Clerk so she likely was educated to some degree as well, or maybe could read and/or write- we don’t know for sure, since there is so little in the records for women. J.H. and Nancy may have had dreams that their son would become a poet, and that he did as well in life as his Uncle Byron- but we are getting ahead of the story, and today’s Mystery Monday.

We cannot find a birth record for EBP (as he is lovingly known in our home since I am so obsessed with learning more about his life). Most information about his birth states he was born in Middletown, Vermont, including a card he filled out in 1918, when he was 71 years old:

CA State Library Biographical Card- front, cropped
CA State Library Biographical Card- front, cropped

Of course, when someone gives their birth information, it is always secondary evidence, since, although they were there at their birth, they probably were not aware of what day or year it was! A person only knows the day of their birth by what others tell them, such as their parents, or when they see a vital record.

The vital record here is the mystery this Monday- where is a record of EBP’s birth?

The 1900 US Federal Census noted that EBP was born in Vermont in July of 1847, but it also included that his father was born in England and his mother in Germany- both places are decidedly untrue, as the family has deep roots in early America. (Perhaps someone else gave the census taker the information?)

EBP’s second wife, Ninetta (Wiley) [Eames] Payne [Springer] was the informant for his death certificate in 1923, and she stated his birth as 25 July 1847 in Vermont.

Everything else we have found states EBP was born in Vermont, but where? And is there proof of when, since some sources noted his birth year as 1845 instead of 1847?

Starting with the information given by EBP on the California Author Card, we found that Middletown is in Rutland County, Vermont. The name was changed to Middletown Springs in the late 1800s, but he may not have known that, or else just preferred the name of the town as it was at his birth. Middletown is not a very populous town- only about 750 residents even today, with not many more in the past.

Vermont Vital Records are now available from FamilySearch and Ancestry.com, and a search box search on both websites was unsuccessful. So I looked through the records, page by page (virtually), in Rutland County for the years 1844-1848. No EBP. No mention of his parents. No mention of his sisters, but they were born in Ohio so would not be included in the Middletown or Rutland, VT birth records.

In The History of Middletown, Vermont, in Three Discourses… by Barnes Frisbee, published in 1867, we learn that Joseph H. Payne, EBP’s father, moved to Middletown in December of 1846, and preached there in the Congregational Church for about a year. That tidbit helps us to pinpoint his birth year as 1847 (vs. 1845), as EBP stated it was.

So, no success finding proof of Edward Biron Payne’s birth online despite many, many hours, but we do have a ‘preponderance of evidence.’ Happily, FamilySearch has a number of microfilms that include Middletown/Rutland land records, town records, etc., so those will be the next resource to peruse. We might be able to learn a bit more about the family’s short year in Middletown, as well.

Anyone out there have proof?

Surprise party for Edward B. Payne on 27 July 1893. Morning Call (San Francisco), page 3, column 2, Chronicling America via doc.gov.
Surprise party for Edward B. Payne on Tuesday, 25 July 1893. Morning Call (San Francisco), Thursday, 27 July 1893, Volume LXXIV, No. 57, Page 3, Column 2, ‘Chronicling America’ via loc.gov.

For now, we will continue to use 25 July 1847 as EBP’s birth, and we did raise a glass in his honor today. He was an incredible man, who put his faith into practice and worked unflaggingly to better the condition of all men and women. He once commented that he believed there was a door between the two worlds, our world of the living and the world of those who have moved on to the next phase, whatever that may be. I hope that today the door opened just a bit, and he saw how we lovingly honored him on his ‘natal day.’

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Image from Leominster Massachusetts Historical and Picturesque, by William A. Emerson, Lithotype Publishing Co., Gardner, Mass. 1888, page 55. Accessed 25 July 2016 at https://archive.org/stream/leominstermassac00emer#page/54/mode/2up.
  2. Edward B. Payne census information–Year: 1900; Census Place: Berkeley Ward 2, Alameda, California; Roll: T623 83; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 397, via Ancestry.com. The 1900 US Federal Census for Edward B. Payne, indexed incorrectly in the home of Samuel Wakeman despite EBP having a different house number- he was actually single since his wife had died, and boarding at 2147 Parker St., as was Charmian Kittredge, who is listed on the same page. They were living in the home of Roscoe Eames and his wife Ninetta (Wiley) Eames. Charmian was the niece of Ninetta, and would later become the wife of the writer Jack London. Roscoe and Ninetta divorced, and she later married Edward. But that is all another story or two… or twenty.
  3. The History of Middletown, Vermont, in Three Discourses… by Barnes Frisbee, Tuttle & Company, Printers, Rutland, Vermont, 1867, page 95, via archive.org.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Friday Funny: Bicycles and Bloomers

Bicycles & Bloomers, likely from the Berkeley Gazette, 1895.
Bicycles & Bloomers, likely from the Berkeley Gazette, 1895.

Granted, the word, “bloomers” itself is sort of a funny word, maybe especially for Baby Boomers who think of them as long baggy underwear worn by our grandmas and great-grandmas. At age 7 we giggled about them when mentioned or when they were seen hanging out on the laundry line, filling with air as they blew in the breeze.

When “bloomers” were used as an article of women’s outer clothing back in the 1800s, however, it was revolutionary.

Women on bicycles- possibly c1900. Unknown source.
Women on bicycles- possibly c1900. Unknown source.

As discussed in our earlier post this week, Madness Monday: Clothes Make the Man- er, Woman!, modest, fashionable styles of dress back in the 1800s were really harmful to the health of women. In fact, one physician cautioned his students to NOT use female cadavers to study ‘normal’ anatomy, since corsets to elongate the torso, minimize the waist, and accentuate the bust moved women’s internal organs to places that nature had not intended!

1850s bloomer dress, via Wikipedia, public domain.
1850s bloomer dress, via Wikipedia, public domain.

Many of the health movements of the 1840s suggested that women should wear less restrictive dress, and some women adopted a variation of the “Turkish dress” that had a shorter skirt over baggy trousers. As the outfit became more popular, in 1851, there was a “Bloomer Craze.” Amelia Bloomer published a temperance (no alcohol) journal and lived in Seneca Falls, New York. (That place will be familiar to those who know their women’s history.) Amelia adopted the dress and it was so popular that her name started being used for it, and she included how to make it in one of her journals. The craze was on, and even included a special banquet for only the textile workers in Lowell Massachusetts who wore bloomers to work, as it increased job safety to not have long skirts among the complex machinery of a mill. There were “Bloomer picnics,” balls where women wore bloomers, and even dress reform societies and institutes were founded.

Of course, wearing bloomers became tied with the Women’s Rights movement of the mid-to late-1800s, especially when Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton wore bloomers. Some of those in the crowds at their speeches came to see the women’s dress more than hear their words. A few years later, because they were worried about distracting from their primary message, the movement’s leaders uncomfortably returned to ‘conventional’ dress.

Others, however, felt the new style was a moral choice, as this poem illustrates:

“And now I’m dressed like a little girl, in a dress both loose and short,
Oh with what freedom I can sing, and walk all ‘round about!
And when I get a little strength, some work I think I can do,
‘Twill give me health and comfort, and make me useful too.”

— The Sibyl magazine, April 15, 1859 

Of course, there were critics who felt the costume usurped male authority- and privilege.

1890s- Satirical cigar box lid that was supposed to be somewhat titilating to men as well. Sex sells, but they would never have wanted their good and modest wife to wear such things... Via Wikipedia, public domain.
1890s- Satirical cigar box lid that was supposed to be somewhat titillating (ankles! calves!) to men as well. Sex and ‘bad’ girls sell, but they would never have wanted their good and modest wife to wear such things… Via Wikipedia, public domain.

But the bloomer dress continued to be worn, and was very useful to women in the west- even on the Iowa prairie. Wonder if some of our ancestors wore them? And, could our own Lynette Payne and her good friend Charmian Kittredge (who later married Jack London, the author) have been among the ‘natty’ ladies in bloomers that the 1895 Berkeley newspaper mentions? They both were living in Berkeley that year, and Lynette was just 16.

During the Civil War, some of the nurses wore bloomers as well- it was very useful for working in the field as well as hospitals. We do have a Civil War nurse in the family, Helen (Merrill) [Burkett] Burnell, who married Kingsley Abner Burnell after his first wife- our ancestor- passed away. Perhaps Helen wore the new dress to avoid long skirts dragging through pools of blood and other bodily fluids while working in a hospital or in the field. (Of course, they did not understand the germ theory of disease back then, so the long conventional dresses were not seen as a bad thing.)

Overall though, the bloomer dress went out of fashion after the Civil War, but was revived in the late 1880s and during the 1890s when it was realized that women needed healthy exercise, plus the bicycle came into fashion.

Bicycling ca1887- big wheels and a ladiy with a long skirt. Library of Congress via Wikipedia, public domain.
Bicycling ca1887- big wheels and a lady with a long skirt. Library of Congress via Wikipedia, public domain.

There were probably many accidents with long skirts caught up in spokes and chains and gears… so the bloomer dress became useful and more acceptable again.

German image from 1886 of tandem bicycle with women wearing bloomers. Wikipedia, public domain.
German image from 1886 of tandem bicycle with women wearing bloomers. Wikipedia, public domain.

Of course, bloomers were still scandalous…

1897- the advance of bloomer styles made riding a bit safer for women. It was still scandalous, so maybe not so safe for me who saw them! via Wikipedia, public domain.
1897- English ad for a liniment. The advance of bloomer styles made riding a bit safer for women. It was still scandalous, thus maybe not so safe for men who were busy watching them instead of the road! Image via Wikipedia, public domain.

Of course, some women could not bring themselves to adopt the new fashion. It must have been very challenging to ride a bicycle in a long dress.

Women on bicycles- possibly c1900. Unknown source.
Women on bicycles- possibly c1900. Unknown source.

There were versions of bloomers for athletics and different versions for cycling, and another to wear out in public for comfort. By about 1900, some versions of bloomers eliminated the overskirt, and bloomer pants became shorter in the late 1920s. In the 1930s, women were allowed to wear shorter and tighter pants, more like men’s styles.

Those of us ‘of an age’ will remember the baggy bloomer-type gym shorts/jumpsuits required for PE in the 50s, 60s, and even into the 70s. Also,  girls/women were not allowed to wear pants to school, work, or church until the 1970s or 80s. (In the winter girls could wear pants under their dresses to get to school, but had to remove them for the rest of the day until returning home.) Even in the mid-1970s, women in the military did not have a dress uniform that included pants, and the short skirts of the day had to be worn on watch even in the coldest of duty stations. Frost-bite, anyone?

We’ve come a long way, baby!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Illustrations from Wikipedia Commons, all public domain. See links for interesting commentary:
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ausfahrt_im_Sociable_um_1886_-_Verkehrszentrum.JPG
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ellimans-Universal-Embrocation-Slough-1897-Ad.png
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bicycling-ca1887-bigwheelers.jpg
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bloomer-Club-cigars-satire-p-adv054.JPG
  2. Bloomers (clothing entry- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloomers_(clothing)
  3. Madness Monday: Clothes Make the Man- er, Woman!- heritageramblings.net/…/madness-monday-clothes-make-the-man-er-woman
  4. “You’ve come a long way, baby!” was a promotional campaign for Virginia Slims cigarettes, marketed to women in the 1970s. One ad’s copy went on to say, “Virginia Slims – Slimmer than the fat cigarettes men smoke.”

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.

Madness Monday: Clothes Make the Man- er, Woman!

Bicycle Dress Reform. The Pacific Unitarian, Vol. 6, No. 5, Page 129. March, 1898, San Francisco, California, via GoogleBooks.
Bicycle Dress Reform. The Pacific Unitarian, Vol. 6, No. 5, Page 129. March, 1898, San Francisco, California, via GoogleBooks.

Payne Family (Click for Family Tree)

For generations reformers tried to get women to trade in their restrictive Victorian clothing for looser garb. The madness of tight corsets that moved bones and internal organs, long dresses that carried the filth of streets filled with excrement of horses and chamber pot contents thrown out a window, big heavy hats that compressed women’s neck bones from the weight, multiple layers that overheated women in the days before air conditioning, etc., made movement for women challenging. No manner of  logic, cajoling, or even science was enough for the ‘modern’ woman to not follow the whims of fashion and the required-by-polite-society need for modesty.

Bicycles changed all that! Women would not ride very far if they could not breathe deeply due to a corset, or if their long skirt got caught in the spokes of the wheels. Those huge, heavy, unsymmetrical hats would definitely put them off balance too.

Bicycles were a great form of exercise, and a way for women to have a bit of freedom. The author of this piece suggests that the bicycle was the biggest influence on women deciding to wear clothes that offered more comfort and “larger freedom of action.” Her conclusion was that this change would bring to women a “life of higher opportunity and realization.” (Love that.)

There was most probably a wealth of causes for these changes, including the women’s suffrage movement. The bicycle surely did play a part, though there was one article in an old newspaper that stated women who rode bicycles were actually prostitutes going off to visit their customers! Casting aspersions on a woman’s reputation was definitely a way to keep most from taking advantage of newfound freedoms.

At least one of our ancestors, Lynette Payne, had the courage to ride a bicycle and she even wore bloomers! She is said to have been the first woman in Newton, Iowa, to ride the new contraption, and Lynette was a suffragist as well.

Lynette Payne, December 1909, wearing a purple and lavender silk dress.
Lynette Payne, December 1909, wearing a purple and lavender silk dress.

Lynette had grown up in liberal Berkeley, California, and many commented on her sophistication after she moved to small Newton, Iowa. Sure wish that we had more photos of Lynette in those early years- would really love to see her on her bicycle! Pure madness, indeed.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Bicycle Dress Reform. The Pacific Unitarian, Vol. 6, No. 5, Page 129. March, 1898, San Francisco, California, via GoogleBooks.
  2. Victorian clothing and its dangers are discussed in the BBC’s “Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home.” Thankful that corsets are no longer required…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy7iUoWi_-U
    The BBC also made “Hidden Killers” episodes for the Tudor (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zSyjyLAWWM) and Edwardian (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7kxUyvkXjw) eras. The Tudor episode discusses death by drowning (40% of Tudor deaths), including the weight of women’s clothing once wet that often led to drowning.
  3. Maureen Taylor, “The Photo Detective” has a number of books that show clothing from various eras to aid in photo identification, including two coloring books: Victorian Hats: A Coloring Book, and Coloring the Past: the 1860s. Her books are available on her website, MaureenTaylor.com, or on Amazon. She also has a blog at http://photodetective.blogspot.com. Maureen’s classes and webinars are wonderful as well if you are interested in old photos or vintage clothing.
  4. Family photo of Lynette (Payne) McMurray.

 

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